Creative Edge iPhone Movie Makers - Small Screen, Big Picture

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The idea of using the superb Nikon glass was tempting, but at $250 for the mount, and with warnings of troublesome focus and images coming out a stop or two too dark, I decided against it. If you decide to invest in an OWLE, adding the EnCinema iPhone SLR adaptor lets you add Nikon lenses to it, as seen at – but this combination comes to nearly $450 before lenses.

The Olloclip lens range is rather more affordable. Like the Glif, it made a name for itself by raising its development capital on Kickstarter, and is now well established. The three-in-one mechanism clips onto your iPhone and adds macro, wide-angle and fisheye lenses. The kit costs $105 from, and the macro lens is notable for significantly extending the iPhone’s range, enabling it to focus just 13mm from your subject.

Clip-on specs: Olloclip lenses are an affordable upgrade

Clip-on specs: Olloclip lenses are an affordable upgrade

An intriguing lens I became aware of through a community site is the Dot 3600 panoramic attachment. As demonstrated at, it will be particularly interesting to documentary makers for its non-invasive nature: with its free Looker app, it allows the iPhone camera to be left running to independently record goings-on through the mirrored lens. The results can be viewed as interactive panoramas. It cost $50 from

Although all the software you need to get started comes included with your iPhone, the right apps will enrich your filmmaking in no end of ways, from simplifying essential tasks to facilitating creative editing and grading. I’ve tended to discover apps when searching for solutions to problems and responding to creative needs that arose: overcoming the limitations of the default apps, enabling specific kinds of take, or finding that one-of-a-kind effect.

The number of relevant apps is vast and growing, and it would be impossible to try more than a tiny fraction of them but if I had to recommend just one to get the ball rolling, it would be FiLMiC Pro ( I came across it when I was looking for a way to centralize the filming process. I wanted a single app where I could change the number frames per second recorded to anything from 30fps down to 1fps, set the resolution (FiLMiC goes down to 480x360; the built-in camera app gives you 1920x1080 or nothing), and lock focus and exposure independently. FiLMiC goes well beyond these functions, also offering an audio meter, framing guide, color bars, slate and more. It soon became me primary filming tool.

Collabracam ( has proved handy for scenes that required simultaneous takes from different angles. These can be particularly trying, since you need a way to orchestrate your shoot and to monitor footage from multiple iPhones. Collabracam links live-streaming iPhone cameras over Wi-Fi, so you can direct up to four of them in real time.

There are endless effects and tools waiting to be discovered on the App Store, covering all aspects of cinematography, from keeping track of daytime hours to calculating depth of field. A slate, or clapperboard (whether built into your main video app or if necessary as a separate app – quite a few different ones exist), is well worth considering to help keep track of your takes.

You can put existing camera lenses to good use with your iPhone by adding an adaptor mount

You can put existing camera lenses to good use with your iPhone by adding an adaptor mount

Of the any effects apps to catch my eye, 8mm by Nexvio is worth a mention, offering looks characteristic of different eras; 1970s, 1920s and film noir, among others, are gorgeous, and the interface is straightforward. You can film using these filters to record pre-processed footage, or load existing videos and apply them. Traditional practice would be to do all you’re grading at the latest stage of the editing process, after cutting your film in suitable desktop software – but part of the iPhone filming experience does not always have to stick to traditional practice. Do what works for you and fits you creative flow.

Another noteworthy app is SloPro, for its ability to outdo FiLMiC and the iPhone’s 30fps limit. This app lets you squeeze 60fps slow motion out of the iPhone’s camera – but the catch is that it only works with devices that haven’t been updated to iOS 6, which quietly nixed the trick that allowed the app to get more out of the video hardware than it was designed to deliver. Undeterred, developer Sand Mountain Studios has changed the app to achieve super-slow motion as high as 1000fps using proprietary software smoothing. I found myself filming different moving subjects just to bask in the addictive effect of their mesmerizing motion.

SloPro app for your iPhone 4S - shoot at 60 frames per second

SloPro app for your iPhone 4S - shoot at 60 frames per second

When it comes to editing, Apple’s own iMovie app, ridiculously cheap at $5, is a quick solution for editing on the go. It goes well beyond basic trimming and templates to offer finer control over your footage, and best of all its intuitive and a doddle to master, especially if you’ve used the desktop version. You can add music, text, effects and much more, and export the results to Final Cut Pro X if you need to take them further.

For myself, I’m a believer in the irreplaceable skills of a full-time editor, and, as has been my practice to data, will pass lightly trimmed and edited footage to a trusted colleague. Some things can’t be fixed with clever kit.

Supported by a burgeoning range of hardware and apps, the iPhone makes independent and indeed solitary filming extremely feasible, and it’s my guess that, just like a the arrival of affordable digital cameras before it, it’s a phenomenon that will soon start to rock the boats of the big studios and large crews. This is still a relatively new scene, growing at an astonishing rate, so it’s an exciting time to venture into it. Keep an eye out for developments on site like, and

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